Why I became an Acupuncturist

I get this question all the time…. “how did you get into this?”.  Like many of you, I had back pain, sciatica, loads of work related stress, and felt really out of sorts. I tried conventional medicine, and got pain pills which I hated because they made me feel even more out of it. I tried chiropractic, and while that helped some with the back pain, it would always come back and did nothing to address the stress and out-of-sortsness. I even had surgery when I no longer had cartilage in my SI joint. And while that helped too, I was left with a reduced range of motion and when the weather changed, I’d feel like my hip would explode. That’s when I found Acupuncture. It was a huge help all the way around! I have less pain, am able to handle stress better and feel more balanced.

Fast forward a few years and I was offered a retirement package as part of a merger at the large airline where I worked (you know the one). I was an IT executive tiring of the corporate world, needing a change and this was my ticket out. I had grand plans to travel the world and figure out what I wanted to do with my life when my father called to tell me he had been diagnosed with cancer. My plans immediately changed and I went to take care of him in South Georgia. It was my search for healing for my Dad that led me to get certified as a Nutrition Consultant, and then to yoga for my own healing from the stress and anxiety that being a caregiver can bring.  As I repeatedly expressed my desire to do something different to my Acupuncturist, he told me about a Chinese Medicine school in the mountains of North Carolina. “Hmmmm” I said, and off to North Carolina I went to check it out. LOVED IT! I enrolled and went back to school at age 49 ¾. Four years later I graduated with a Masters degree in Acupuncture. I haven’t looked back.  It was probably one of the best decisions I have made.

So you may be thinking “that’s a huge shift”, and in many ways it has been, but in other ways not so much. Simply put, as a computer professional I diagnosed computer systems, and now I diagnose human systems. The work and tools required to diagnose and fix the system are different, but now I get to use my analytical mind to solve problems while making a big difference in the lives of my patients.   I love my job because I love helping others feel better.  I want to help as many people as I can to feel better and enjoy life.

Rawls Whittlesey, LAc

Another reason I love my job is because I am a lifelong learner. I love learning new stuff, and boy do I have my hands full with Chinese Medicine! A traditional medicine that’s thousands of years old practiced all over the world in a variety of ways means a lifetime of studying and learning.  Since formal schooling, I have learned from some great teachers including Dr. Arnaud Versluys who has spent many years in China studying and translating the notes of his teacher and his teachers teacher.  Two years of coursework, and continuing clinical observation with him expanded my knowledge of using the pulses to diagnose illness and guide the prescription of herbal medicine.  I’ve also learned from Japanese master acupuncturist Anryu Iwashina (aka Dr. Bear) the Japanese technique of Acupuncture called “teishin”, which uses a needle that is not inserted into the skin. I frequently use this technique with children. If you are squeamish about needles, you just have to let me know that you prefer this form of needling.  Eileen Han taught me about the Balance Method of Dr. Tan that is absolutely fabulous for all kinds of pain, digestive issues and more. David Toone, a highly skilled Acupuncturist and Herbalist that I worked and studied with for several years helped me get my start. I’ve studied orthopedic acupuncture, Chinese Medicine for Women’s Health, neuro-functional acupuncture, the treatment of Lyme Disease, Fibromyalgia, Chronic Fatigue, and other chronic illness. And more. I am grateful to my teachers for expanding my knowledge and ability to help others be well.  My learning continues and will for the foreseeable future.

Licensed Acupuncturist


I hold a Bachelors degree in Business Administration and Master’s Diploma in Acupuncture, and am licensed to practice Acupuncture in the State of Georgia.  A graduate of the Jung Tao School of Classical Chinese Medicine,  I’ve taken and passed the national acupuncture board exams and am nationally board certified by the National Certification Commission of Acupuncture and Oriental Medicine (NCCAOM).

I am also a Diplomate of the Institute of Classics in East Asian Medicine where I’ve studied Chinese Herbal Medicine taught by Arnaud Versluys, M.D. (China) of the Tian-Zeng lineage, one of the most pragmatic and advanced styles of herbalism.

I practice acupuncture in Peachtree City, Ga. serving Fayette, Coweta and surrounding counties in Georgia.

Learn more about Acupuncture.

Nutrition and Wellness Consultant

I am certified by the American Fitness Professional Association and the American Association of Nutrition Consultants as a Nutrition and Wellness Consultant.   My approach is to combine long standing nutrition principles with traditional, time tested diet therapy practices to build a nutrition program that will help you achieve and maintain a healthy body that is better equipped to fight off disease.  Whether your goal is weight loss or simply improved health and fitness, I can help you develop a plan that will help to heal your body and form lifelong healthy eating habits.   See my healthy eating tips here.

Learn more about Nutrition.

Yoga Instructor

I have been practicing yoga for more than 20 years and am certified to teach by Integrative Yoga Therapy and Yoga Alliance(IYT200, RYT200).  Yoga Therapy brings the ancient insights of Yoga into mainstream wellness programs.   I am not currently teaching classes.

Community Service

If I could do this for free everyday, I would.   I know how effective this medicine is for so many things and I look for ways to share it with others.  I am a member of Acupuncturists Without Borders that provides trauma and stress relief acupuncture to first responders and those affected by disasters.  I am a member of the Georgia Medical Reserve Corps and am working to create an Acupuncture team to respond in the event of a disaster in our state.   I volunteered at the Atlanta Veterans Acupuncture Clinic, where we offered free acupuncture treatments to our Veterans and their families to provide stress relief.   After the tornadoes that struck my hometown of Albany, Ga., I worked with the local acupuncturist there to set up a free clinic to provide treatments to those affected by the storms.   I offered free treatments to those who were staying in our area after having been evacuated from the paths of the hurricanes that swept through the Southeast a few years ago. And most recently, I held a free clinic for those impacted by the tornadoes in Newnan.

I served as Secretary for the Georgia Association of Acupuncture and Asian Medicine for several years,  helping to create public awareness about the benefits of this medicine, and working to educate our law makers on how it can be a key tool in addressing the opioid epidemic in our state and others.

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